Brahms: The Piano Quartets

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With the Riverrun Piano Quartet

Schumann: Adagio and Allegro for Cello and Piano Op 70
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G minor Op 25

During the composition of his First Piano Concerto in 1855 the young Brahms embarked on a project to write a Piano Quartet in C sharp minor.  This was during a period of an intense relationship with Clara Schumann, the wife of Robert Schumann who was at the time committed to a mental asylum and had not long to live. As with the Piano Concerto, Brahms ran into difficulties with the composition of the Quartet and it was abandoned. Almost 20 years later he revisited the work and the result was the magnificent Piano Quartet in C minor Op 60; truly one of his greatest achievements. It was not his first published work for this combination of instruments, two Piano Quartets appeared in 1861 and 1862. In the composition of these works Brahms relied much on the advice of his friend, the great Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim who also frequently performed with Clara. Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann and Joseph Joachim all played important roles in the personal and creative life of Brahms. Each of these concerts features one the three Piano Quartets paired with duos by each of Brahms's three friends and muses.